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Orlando Pirates' Jackson Mabokgwane enjoying Micho, Rhulani Mokwena and Ivica Vukusic support

Posted: 27 February 2018 Time: 13:00

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane believes he is getting back to his best and credits the technical team for backing him as the club’s number one shot-stopper.

Mabokgwane had a difficult first campaign with the Soweto giants last season, as he formed part of the group of goalkeepers who were often criticised for below par performances in between the sticks.

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Mabokgwane, Brighton Mhlongo and Siyabonga Mpontshane were all in and out of the starting line-up and there was just no one who was backed as the number one.

At the start of the current campaign, Mabokgwane was a deputy to new signing Wayne Sandilands, but he has managed to fight his way into the team and is determined to hold onto the spot.

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He looks set to make his first appearance in the Soweto Derby against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday (15h30).

“I have been given the opportunity and I have been working hard to get the chance. I have grabbed it with both hands and I have the backing of the technical team,” the former Mpumalanga Black Aces player says.

“I also want to give a special mention to my goalkeeper coach Ivica [Vukusic]. He has pushed me. From day one he said he wants to see me back in the national team and I said, ‘I am not even playing and he is talking about the national team’. He has pushed me very hard and I am in the right direction. I am slowly getting back to my best and I need to keep the consistency.”

Mabokgwane says having the right support gives him the confidence to perform well consistently.

“You need to be strong mentally. I know I am a strong person and I don’t get easily affected by what happens around me or what’s said around me.

“You need to remain focused and know that certain situations are beyond your control. It happens everywhere when somebody is not doing well there will be rotation, but you have to make a decision on who you go for and back them. I started this season as second choice and now I am first choice and I am doing well. I have received the backing and it’s good. When you get the backing it helps you as a player to become better and there’s less pressure.”

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Article by: Tshepang Mailwane
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